Culinary Inspirations

While I wait for the cream to get cold and mixer bowl and whisk for a trifle layer to deliver to an early dinner this evening I think of things. No room in the freezer but it’s 20 degrees outside so that’s where they are. Don’t worry, the cream is in an insulated bag.

Happy New Year! We’re all a year older and hopefully wiser.

I saw two episodes of “At The Table With…” that resonated with me. The first was Daniel Bouloud. He was a young chef when I was in cooking school and demonstrated his fish wrapped in thin layers of potato and pan-fried. He was remarkable. That was 28 years ago.

The next was Norman van Aken, a chef from Florida who started cooking early and rose through the ranks. He was a reader of literature, one chef said he had to read cookbooks, and cookbooks are literature to me, check my list. Start with James Beard, and he did. I cooked for our final exam at the James Beard House with family upstairs in his bedroom. Chef van Aken’s first cookbook was James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking.

I have that in my library, lent it out and never got it back. I bought another. This out of print book is my gift to every young couple as a wedding present.

Knowledge is power. That’s why I tell my husband the difference between baking soda and baking powder. Today as I prepare trifle for a dinner this evening as a host gift I told him about cream/cold, egg whites/no fat, clean bowl and room temperature.

He’s a physicist so understands science. I will also leave him Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and my culinary library. In the past few weeks he’s learned pancakes, spaetzle and homemade fettucini. He loves science and machines. Even the hand-cranked pasta machine.

After James Beard House, since I had family in town they gave me all the leftovers, which I happily re-heated, revamped and served at a large family and neighborhood get-together brunch.

Dad always said we spent too much time talking about food. He had good food prepared by women. It is a staple of life. That it is tasty and healthy for all concerned is my job at home. Cooking school just helped me get there. Dad cooks now, and not just pancakes on Sunday. Cheers and Happy New Year! Dee

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